‘Twas the week before Christmas at House with a Heart,
And Happy had just gotten into his cart,
Ready to go and patrol the backyard,
And scare off the squirrels who strayed onto his sward.
Suddenly Happy heard a sound near the thistle,
A strange little sound like a flute or a whistle.
He cried the alarm, yelled, “Hey, Daphne and Spike!
I hear something nearby that I don’t think I like!”
He tilted his head for a look and a listen,
Saw little red, curly toed boots, how they glistened!
With jingle bells jingling and gold laces so neat,
The little red boots were on ten tiny elf feet!
“Hey, Mom Sher,” Happy barked, one might even say beckoned.
“I’ve flushed out intruders, come out here this second!”
When they heard the alarm (all the dogs who could hear!),
They ran outside barking, “There’s nothing to fear!”
“We’ve got your back, pack mate, no need for dismay,
No intruder will hassle you, at least not today.
We’re ready to roust these fierce elves oh, so shiny.”
Then Piper remarked, “Wow, they certainly are, um, tiny!”
One of the elven cried, “Please don’t attack,
We’re perfectly harmless, defenses we lack.
We’ve heard all about you, Santa loves all you mutts!
We just need some advice…please stop sniffing our butts!”
“So my name is Bloopy von Twinkletoes Elf,
I’m the best of Elf R&D if I say so myself!
Every Christmas the Big Guy, that’s Santa, you know,
Gives our group the assignment to make children glow.”
“To come up with a toy that all kids will love,
And parents can enjoy it also, sort of!
Well, we brainstormed, we diagrammed, we then focus grouped,
We customer researched until we were pooped!”
“We thought we had come up with a fantastic notion,
We brought elves in from everywhere, from across every ocean!
We all got together to give Santa our pitch,
But it went really badly, with many a glitch.”
“So, we’ve got nothing this year, our ideas all went bust,
We’re all out of options, please help us, you must!”
Asked Nora & Clementine, “Whatever can we do to assist?
If at first we hit roadblocks, nevertheless, we persist!”
“Let us show you our pitch, it’ll take only a sec,
We just happen to have our PowerPoint deck!”
The dogs gathered round, and the kitty cats too,
To hear this idea that made Santa Claus boo!
Bloopy said, while he fired up his laptop computer,
“We thank you for being our toy troubleshooter.
We thought that this year we’d propose something retro
‘Back to basics,’ we said, “Way, way back, near in vitro.”
“Our 2017 concept would not be a snooze,
We present…drumroll please…Primordial Ooze!
Yes, Primordial Ooze, it blorps, hisses, and bubbles
It’s also quite smelly, but wait, you mutts all look troubled.”
“That’s exactly the look that we got from the Big Guy,
A mixture of nausea and a bit of the stink eye.
Is there nothing that says this idea is a win?”
Monroe cautiously said, “Could be fun to roll in.”
“Well, what can we do? We need inspiration,
Lest Santa sends us on a prolonged vacation!
And by that we mean fired, we mean sent down to the minors,
We’re determined to show Santa Claus we’re not whiners.”
“Hmm,” purred Gianni, “Perhaps we can assist,
By inspiring some ideas for toys that you missed!”
“That’s an awesome idea!” shouted Joie the poodle.
“We’ve all got some super toy thoughts in our noodle!”
Buddy and Copper and Fluffy and Tinker,
All struck a pose just like Rodin’s The Thinker.
Jenny the Portuguese water dog pondered,
While Wrigley and Casey thought best while they wandered.
“Eureka, I’ve got it!” said the littlest pup.
“A toy just like me that would growl when wound up!”
“That’s just great! Keep ‘em coming! Maybe a wee bit less scary.”
“Pshaw,” said Miss GinGin, “Of me none should be wary!”
“Okay, gang,” said Bloopy, “What can we think of that’s groovy?
Because Santa will soon be all done with his movie.”
He whispered to Sher, “Santa’s smitten with Netflix.
He likes to critique cinematical St. Nicks.”
Then Spirit the elf asserted with glee,
“Let’s design cat and dog Monopoly!
All of the tokens will be doggies and kitties,
And houses and hotels, fancy pet cities!”
“Or a video game where pups play hide and seek,
The cats always lose ‘cause they’re curious and peek.”
Pequeño elf Jaime said, “Una idea, creo que tenga!
Instead of with blocks, we’ll make Puppy Pile Jenga!”
“Oooh, ahhh!” said the doggies, “It all sounds quite ducky,
Whoever gets these toys will certainly be lucky.”
The cats said, “Don’t forget things like soft blankies and outfits!
Our cute sweaters and onesies are always such big hits.”
But just then, a ruckus—someone burst through the flue!
The House with a Heart pack rushed to see who.
He’d dashed there through snowfall with reindeer and sleigh,
It was Santa! Gather round now, he’s got something to say!
Santa Claus! Saint Nick! Kris Kringle, himself!
Pups and kitties grew quiet as he said to each elf,
“House with a Heart is filled with such joy,
But we all must remember it’s not from a toy.”
For love lives here always, and cuddles, and kisses,
And that, my dear elves, is the true meaning of Christmas!”
And with that he smiled, said, “We must be on our way,
We’ve got lots to do before Christmas Day!”
The elves sang out, “Bless you! We can’t thank you enough!
We’d best head out now before the skies get too rough.”
They hopped on the sleigh, headed north for the Pole,
Assured that their efforts would bring candy, not coal.
Santa said, “One more thing now, before we depart,
We’ll always be thankful for House with a Heart.”
By Susan Long with Elizabeth Smiroldo